YWCA Mahoning Valley Puts Focus on 4 Core Fields

By Leah Merritt, president & CEO, YWCA Mahoning Valley
YWCA Mahoning Valley is a nonprofit social service agency that serves Mahoning and Trumbull counties. It continues the work of its mission to eliminate racism and empower women in the areas of  housing, youth development, empowerment and advocacy. 

Opportunities for growth in 2019 led to the organization’s plans to expand programs in these four core fields. 

As part of its housing program, YWCA is expecting to reach more homeless women by proposing that those who are medically vulnerable with a high-risk pregnancy or who have a disability or a disabled household member be eligible for permanent housing. 

The need comes from statistics that show one-third of mothers in the area enrolled in the Hub housing program were at risk for infant mortality and were homeless at one point during their pregnancy. 

In 2019, middle school girls participated in Y-Girls Steam Ahead summer camps in Warren and Youngstown. Sixteen of 23 girls who participated rated their knowledge of manufacturing higher after attending the camps. YWCA plans to extend the camps at each site to four weeks. 

YWCA Mahoning Valley is making more use of technology in its advocacy efforts by partnering with its sister association, YWCA Greater Cleveland, to conduct, beginning in late March, an online 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge. 

Participants will receive educational modules and prompts via email that focus on racial equity and social justice on local, state and national levels. 

The challenge will conclude with a reception April 23 in Youngstown. It will be open to the community and participation is encouraged. 

On April 24, Margaret Mitchell,  president and CEO of YWCA Greater Cleveland, will speak at 

YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism event in Warren. Stand Against Racism is a national YWCA campaign that raises awareness about how to combat the negative impact of structural racism in our communities. 

Another significant YWCA campaign is #YWomenCount, a collaborative crusade for the 2020 Census. It encourages everyone to respond to the census by April 1. The campaign also informs the public, especially hard-to-count communities, that a full and accurate census ensures fair representation and federal funding. 

Not only does YWCA Mahoning Valley encourage others to “get out the count,” it’s urging the community to “get out the vote.” The organization partners with National Voter Registration Day to verify that people are registered and ready to take part in the primary and general elections by making their voices heard. 

YWCA continues to educate and empower those seeking employment with job skills workshops. The organization plans to expand the workshops by partnering with agencies to assist participants with job placement. YWCA will also incorporate job shadowing and on-the-job experiences. 

Celebrating the cultures and customs of women around the world is essential at YWCA. The fourth annual International Women’s Day celebration will be March 12 at the YWCA’s Youngstown branch. 

YWCA will host its annual juried art exhibition, showcasing female artists in the Valley and surrounding areas, June 26 through July 24. Women Artists: A Celebration! supports YWCA housing programs. 

YWCA Youngstown was founded in 1904 and YWCA Warren was founded in 1916. The two organizations merged to form one association, YWCA Mahoning Valley, in 2018. 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.